If it’s a numbers-matching survivor, there’s no better way to honor and preserve the heritage of a car than by leaving it that way. It’s not until you’ve got a classic car where most of its original parts have been lost over time that some options open up. At that point you could go the numbers-correct route and locate all the technically correct parts for your specific car or you could go full restomod and bring it into the modern age with an all-new drivetrain, suspension and the works. The owner of this 1967 Corvette coupe had his own plan that met somewhere in the middle. If that sounds like a compromise, trust us, it’s not.
Paul Musschoot is a lifetime car enthusiast and SCCA race car driver. He’s been around the block a few times when it comes to cars in general, and has owned plenty of Corvettes and other specimens of American muscle, but more than any other car he keeps coming back to his ’67. Paul has owned the car since 1971 when he found it in a local newspaper ad. The car was originally a big-block, four-speed car but even though it was only a few years old, it had already lost its original engine and transmission. When Paul picked it up, it had a small-block 327 and a Powerglide automatic. He drove it that way for a few years, taking it on road rallies and autocrossing the car regularly until 1975 when he replaced the 327 with a 400-horse/427ci big-block from a 1969 Corvette. Just one year later, Paul parked the ’67 to focus more heavily on his racing.
Over the years, the Vette moved from one storage location to the next while Paul was consumed with racing, other builds and life in general. All the while, he knew he wanted to rebuild his C2 Corvette and get it on the road again one day, so he began slowly accumulating parts for it.
Finally, just a couple of years ago, Paul decided the build couldn’t wait any longer so he drove over to his buddy’s shop just five minutes from his house in Marengo, Illinois, to start the ball rolling. Oh, and by the way, his buddy is Jeff Schwartz of Schwartz Performance, so you know a full chassis was in order. Other than a modern frame and suspension, Paul wanted to preserve the charm of his classic Corvette. To accomplish that goal, he turned to his treasure trove of old parts he’d accumulated, which included a Gen III 502ci big-block he’d purchased as a crate engine back in the ’70s and an M22 Rock Crusher four-speed. Paul took his collection of parts along with the Corvette and dropped it all off at Schwartz Performance.
Since this is a Schwartz build, let’s start with the chassis, which is a complete Schwartz Performance G-Machine chassis. In the front live C6 Corvette control arms paired with RideTech coilovers and a Schwartz Performance 1 1/4-inch antisway bar. Out back is a suspension derived from the C4 Corvette and built by Schwartz Performance but, like the front, the transverse leaf spring is ditched in favor of RideTech coilovers. Then, to help the rear tires stick a little better, they fitted a smaller 3/4-inch antisway bar. The centersection was another piece Paul had saved from his years of racing—it’s a ’67-style center but with upgraded 3.70:1 gears and a posi. Baer 14-inch discs with six-piston calipers at all four corners take care of the braking responsibilities.
Sitting in the new chassis is the Gen III 502ci big-block mentioned earlier. Paul had Advanced Engine Concepts of Green Lake, Wisconsin, tear down the engine, blueprint it and then reassemble it to make sure it was ready to take a beating. The engine still houses the original GM camshaft with 0.527/0.544-inches of lift, 224/234-degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift and a 110-degree lobe separation angle. An HEI distributor from MSD and a Holley 750 double-pumper take care of fuel, air and spark. With the engine back together, Advanced Engine Concepts threw it on an engine dyno and it made 465 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque.
Once the engine was installed, the guys at Schwartz slapped on a set of headers and factory side pipes along with a BeCool radiator and electric fans. Behind the 502 is a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher four-speed Paul had put together back in the late 1970s for racing. A McLeod clutch and flywheel make sure all 550 lb-ft of torque make it from the engine to the transmission without a hitch.
The exterior of Paul’s Corvette is all stock ’67—or is it? Well, obviously the rollers aren’t stock, those are 18-inch Forgelines wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. The trim is all N.O.S. items Paul has saved over the years but there’s something else that’s not quite stock. If you haven’t figured it out yet, that means it worked. While the body was stripped and being prepped for paint, Schwartz cut and stretched the quarter-panels to get an extra three inches of width. This was done to fit those modern wheels and tires without just slapping on flares because Paul still wanted to preserve the Corvette’s classic body lines. With the fiberglass prepped, Schwartz painted the Vette in Victory Red, a factory color option for the C6 from 2005-’09.
Inside, the Corvette is very much from 1967 with the only changes being the seats. Paul wanted to take advantage of modern advances in material, so the springs were removed and custom-shaped high-density foam used instead to give him added lateral and lumbar support. Then, instead of black vinyl, the seats were wrapped in breathable black perforated leather. Paul really wanted the experience in the cabin to retain the late ’60’s feel so even the gauges remain completely stock. “I’ve owned enough of today’s tech,” he states, “and there’s a certain charm about the old bouncy tach.”
So, after working with Schwartz Performance to blend their modern chassis with Paul’s collection of N.O.S. performance parts into his favorite Corvette, what did he think of the outcome? We asked Paul if he’s been driving the Vette much and he responded with, “I just put 120 miles on it yesterday.” We aren’t detectives by any means, but we’re pretty sure that means he approves.
Photography by Dominick Damato